Did you know that over 45,000 reported bicycle accidents happen every year in the United States?
While bicycle riding is a great way to keep fit and stay healthy, it comes with unique risks. Every year, there are more people on the road that are facing an increasing number of distractions.
That’s why we’ve created this quick guide of bike safety tips to better understand how to keep you and your family safe while riding your bicycle on the road. Keep reading to learn more information!
1. Make Sure You’re Riding the Right Size Bike
The first way that you can make sure that you’re staying safe on the road is to make sure that you are riding the right size bicycle. If you ride a bicycle that is too small or too big, it will limit your ability to handle and control the bike properly.
Bicycle sizes are generally based on your height, so if you’re shopping around for a new bike, be sure to check with the manufacturer’s sizing chart. This chart will have a list of the different bike sizes they offer for varying measurements of height.
As a general guide, you should be able to stand with your feet flat on the ground, leaving roughly two inches of space between the bike seat and your groin. It may also be beneficial to consult with your salesperson before purchasing a bike to ensure that you have the right size frame for your height.
2. Double Check Your Brakes
Before you get on the road, be sure to check and then double-check that your brakes are in good working order. Make sure that the brake pads on your bicycle are rubbing against the disc rotor on the wheels. If you experience any issues, it’s worth taking the time to adjust them before you head out.
To check and be sure the brakes are working properly, simply spin the wheels with your hand and press on the brake. You should complete this simple test for both your front and back wheels before you head out on the road.
3. Always Use Headlights
Headlights are not only beneficial to motor vehicles; adding headlights to a bicycle rider will help you to both see and be seen. If you’re looking to improve your safety whenever you’re on the road, consider installing both daytime running lights and a headlight for night riding.
4. Always Wear a Helmet
In the United States, bicycle helmet laws vary by state and by the cyclist’s age. In the state of Tennessee, a bicycle helmet is required for anyone under the age of sixteen. If you’re over the age of sixteen, it is not required that you wear a helmet.
However, statistics show that wearing a helmet at any age will help reduce the likelihood of a serious head injury by 50%. In addition, a helmet can help reduce the likelihood of a neck and face injury by 33%.
In short, always wearing a helmet while you’re riding your bicycle will greatly reduce your chances of developing a life-changing injury, should you ever be involved in a bicycle accident.
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a bicycle accident, never reuse a helmet once it has been amaged. The fact is, helmets are designed to crack upon impact with the goal of protecting your skull.
5. Don’t Ride While Wearing Headphones
People enjoy wearing headphones or earbuds while biking, as it helps them relax, get energized, or just make the ride go by quicker. However, riding with headphones or earbuds can also be dangerous.
When riding a bicycle, particularly when other traffic is present, your senses need to process an awful lot in order to alert your brain to hazards. You need to be aware of other bikes, other cars, car horns, people yelling, even sirens from first-responder vehicles.
Even if you’re on quiet roads that aren’t commonly traveled, you need to listen for any vehicles that might be behind you and could potentially threaten your safety.
Since you’re already so vulnerable when riding a bicycle on the road, you should strongly consider whether it’s worth the risk to your safety by listening to music while you ride.
6. Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars
From time to time, many people ride bicycles with only one hand or even no hands on the handlebars. For some, this is because they’re holding something in one hand, like a cup of coffee or a cell phone. For others who might have more confidence in their abilities, riding in this manner simply looks cool.
However, riding without both hands on the handlebars brings with it significant risk. There are many hazards on the road such as potholes or unevenness in the pavement, that you might not see until you’re right on it. Rough road surfaces, even with two hands on the handlebars, can make it difficult to maintain full control of your bicycle.
Regardless of your circumstances, riding with both hands on the handlebars is always recommended and can greatly reduce the risk of an accident that could cause personal injury.
7. Don’t Ride Too Fast
When you’re riding your bike, you should always travel at speeds that you feel comfortable with and that is appropriate for the current weather conditions, traffic conditions, and the road surface on which you’re riding.
Traveling at speeds that are excessive for your current conditions will only put yourself and those around you in danger.
Learning About the Best Bike Safety Tips
By keeping aware of bike safety tips, you can keep yourself and the people around you safe while you’re on the road. Of course, even if you are taking all appropriate measures to be a responsible rider, that doesn’t mean that others on the road are doing the same.
Do your part by being as safe as possible on your bike in order to prevent an accident of possible injury.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident that’s the fault of another driver, we’re here to help you. Click here to contact us today to learn more.